Lightning in a Bottle is moving to central California. This year's installment of the Do Lab-produced music and arts festival will take place May 22-26, 2014 at Monterey County's Lake San Antonio Recreation Area, in Bradley, California, West Coast Sound can exclusively report.
Last year's festival, held at Temecula's Lake Skinner Recreational Area, was riddled with controversy after undercover officers from a Riverside-county based task force arrested dozens of festival goers for drug-related offenses.
"It was a huge challenge and a huge disappointment to us, knowing that our audience wasn't thrilled with all aspects of the event," says Do Lab co-founder Dede Flemming. "It's our goal to produce an event where everyone leaves feeling energized and stoked about what they just experienced. Last year, because of some of the noise restrictions and some of the law enforcement presence, that wasn't the case. It was really hard on us."
The new location is 240 miles north of Los Angeles. Flemming says festival organizers have long envisioned moving to the Central Coast, to accommodate both Los Angeles and Bay Area attendees, where the majority of LiB attendees live.
While swimming was not permitted at Lake Skinner, it is allowed at Lake San Antonio. (Unfortunately, the lake is currently dried up due to the state-wide drought.) In any case, the Lake San Antonio Recreation Area is 20 miles inland from the Pacific coast, situated in the hills and surrounded by nature for miles in each direction. This remote location will likely effect how late into the night the festival is allowed to play music. Many LiB 2013 attendees were annoyed that Riverside officials required that the music be shut down at midnight.
"The biggest hurdle with Riverside, and the biggest factor why we're not going back," Flemming says, "is because of the sound. We had an agreement to shut the music down at midnight, and we did, but they still had a lot of complaints. The sound was going to continue to be a big issue out there, and we learned that restrictions on the late late night sound didn't' really fit well with our audience."
Although Lake San Antonio can host more attendees than both Lake Skinner and Orange County's Oak Canyon Ranch - where the Lightning in a Bottle was held in previous years - 2014 attendance is anticipated to be about 15,000, the same as last year's.
This year, Lightning in a Bottle returns to Memorial Day weekend. The festival has been held over the holiday weekend every year except for last, as scheduling conflicts at Lake Skinner forced the festival to mid-July. "That was the most exciting news," Flemming says, "that Lake San Antonio was available on Memorial Day."
A 24 hour ticket sale featuring discounted passes begins on February 18th through the festival's website. Regularly priced tickets go on sale via the website the day after.
With a location locked in and the musical headliners already booked, the focus now shifts to actually producing the festival. Flemming notes that Monterey County authorities have been eager to work with the Do Lab in coordinating the event.
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"When we tell them about what we're doing," Flemming says, "it seems like they get it. It's much easier to plan with them. In Riverside, it seemed more black and white and more business than it was partnering. We're excited to have a lengthy relationship with the park."
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